Longhorn players listen carefully to instruction before heading to their respective areas of specialization to practice drills.
Photo by Andy Towle.
Newly appointed Payson High School football coach Byron Quinlan jump-started his first off-season program by holding a five-day spring practice last week on the PHS campus.
“The camp went really well, we had about 50 kids out,” Quinlan said. “The kids were excited and ready to put some hard work into the off-season.”
This week, the players “are focusing on their finals,” Quinlan said.
Preparations for next season will continue this summer with weight training sessions each weekday evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., several passing league 7-on-7 tournaments and a team camp July 19 to July 23.
For spring football, Scott Novack, Slade Gibson, Chris Harold, Les Barr, Mark Henning, Brandon Moore and Joe Parone assisted Quinlan.
Also at the camp, Bret Morse — a name very familiar to all PHS sports fans — pitched in to lend his expertise.
Morse served as offensive coordinator on Payson’s 2008 undefeated state championship team and also coached on the 1998 team that won the 3A state title.
“He was a big part of our camp,” said Quinlan.
Morse is expected to help the Longhorns install the same power option offense the team used during both of its championship seasons.
Also at the camp, former Longhorn coach Josh Anderson paid a visit. Anderson is now the head coach at Dakota State University. He resigned at PHS two years ago after leading the Horns to the 3A title.
Quinlan was officially appointed the new coach at a school board meeting last evening, May 24.
He replaces Matt Mayo who resigned this spring after one season at the helm of the program.
Under Mayo, the Horns struggled to a 3-7 with the only “Ws” coming against Chino Valley, 22-20, Alchesay, 52-0, and Santa Cruz, 42-7.
Quinlan, who also is a counselor at Rim Country Middle School, will be the Longhorns’ 10th head coach in the past 22 years.
In Longhorn land, hopes are high that Quinlan might represent some coaching stability in the often-capricious program mostly because he is a hometown product who once played at Payson High.